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Rural Health System Resources


Time to Act: Investing in Addressing Social Determinants to Improve Health


World Economic Form


A host of non-medical factors shape the conditions of daily life, longevity, well-being, and quality of life. Together, such factors influence up to 70% of health outcomes. This paper challenges the idea that addressing the social determinants of health, as well as building healthier communities, is solely the responsibility of governments. It argues that this requires a collaborative approach involving both public and private stakeholders. The role of the private sector it is argued is pivotal, given its interdependence with communities through employment and services. Additionally, an equitable and healthy community contributes to a more productive workforce, better business and a more prosperous economy.

Why is this useful for rural and remote people?

The health of rural and remote people is influenced by a wide range of factors, many of which are controlled by the private sector. If the local supermarket sells sweet sugary drinks at a lower price that water, then people will tend to purchase the sweet drink if they have limited resources. If the local farm operation uses high risk chemicals to manage pests, then the health of local people can be compromised from consumption of pesticides and insecticides. If the local council does not repair pot holes in major roads, then there is an increased risk of injury or death in traffic accidents. If a local business only employs backpackers from overseas in retail or hospitality jobs, rather than investing in training and skills local kids for local jobs, then we know that the health of these kids will be compromised over the long term. Business plays a key role in influencing the health of local people, and rural and remote communities need to engage with local businesses if they are to successfully address poor health.

Suggested Citation

World Economic Forum (2021) Time to Act: Investing in Addressing Social Determinants to Improve Health


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